This must be the last of the three Colonna hell scenes. The architecture of the landscape, including the greatly expanded cavern in the lower right, relates to the later classical underworlds Jan would paint in Antwerp, and the collaboration with Rottenhammer suggests a later date as well. Ertz thinks that this work was executed by Jan alone but he had not examined the original, from which it is clear that there are two hands at work. The two artists used Albrecht Dürer's The Harrowing of Hell, or Christ in Limbo from the Engraved Passion; B.16, as the basis for their composition. Jan adapted the German master’s demons for those closest to hell’s gates, although the other devils come very much from his own repertoire.
The story of Christ's descent into Limbo is not told in the New Testament but was taken from the Apostles' Creed as amplified by the apocryphal Gospel of Nicodemus.